My Home: Sophie Conran

Sophie Conran has turned a series of Bayswater bedsits into the nerve centre of her gourmet pie-making business. Joey Canessa reports

I moved in here almost 20 years ago, on my 21st birthday. I had spent the previous eight months fixing it up, as it had been divided into bed-sits when I bought it. Many of the rooms were partitioned, so I restored them to their original proportions, replaced all the cornicing, fireplaces and floors, and put in the bathroom and the kitchen. It was a massive job, but I enjoyed it, especially the time that I spent looking for bits and bobs at Lassco [The London Architectural Salvage and Supply Company].

Bayswater, in my opinion, is the best place to live in London. It's perfectly located for shopping, eating and the West End, and the Heathrow Express is just round the corner at Paddington, for a quick getaway.

I thought up my pie business about two years ago. Coming from a very "foodie" family, I've always loved cooking, and I knew I could do it well. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and I knew exactly what I wanted when I designed mine. I chose wide-grained, unpainted pine cupboards with slate tops, which tie in with the general colour scheme in here - yellow walls and black paintwork. I have a beautiful black gas-fired Aga, which I rub and polish so frequently throughout the day that I could count it as one of my hobbies. The tiles are Victorian slipware, which were originally floor tiles, in beautiful greys and browns. The wooden cornicing is very old, and I found it, with the ceramic double sink and drainer, at Lassco.

I also have a lovely old pink sofa in here, which is extremely battered and worn and so comfortable that it seems to hug you when you sit in it. I have made vague attempts to get it re-covered, but the idea has always been met with huge resistance - we all love it too much as it is. This is where I sit at the end of the day with a restorative glass of wine, which I drink from the most perfect glass in the world - it's fragile, ethereal, beautifully delicate and one of my favourite possessions.

I have recently opened up the wall between the kitchen and the sitting room. Spending so much time in the kitchen meant that the sitting room was under-used. Since we opened it up, the energy has completely changed. The difference in the light, with windows at either end now, has hugely improved both rooms and brought them to life. It's amazing. I spend my time in both now, since the office has been incorporated into the sitting room.

Previously, the curtains in here were blue velvet with orange linings, and they were very voluptuous, but I passed them on to a friend and I'm replacing them with white linen, lined in yellow, to make the room glow in the mornings.

Most of my pictures have been given to me by generous friends and family; Dad gave me the Dick Smith and the Paolozzi; the Howard Hodgkin was a wedding present from my mum; and the Calder print I found in a skip. Another favourite present is the Arco lamp, suspended from a rectangular marble base. It was made by Castiglioni in the Sixties and it takes me back to my childhood home, where we had an identical lamp that hung over the sofa. I bought the black veneered B&B Italia dining table in the sales. It had some minor damage, which I rectified by colouring it in with a felt pen. The red plywood chairs are copies of Arne Jacobsen's Series 7.

My bedroom is a haven, with white walls, a soft, creamy carpet and a beautiful four-poster bed - from the Conran Shop, naturally - with white linen curtains around it. I bought the huge French fireplace from O F Wilson on Fulham Road. It was a bit of an extravagance, but I fell in love with its simplicity and sheer size, and knew it was right for this room. I had the bath restored fairly recently. It's a 1930s model which came from The Savoy, with beautiful Deco detailing, but the enamel was almost worn away. I used a company called Magic Man, which did a fantastic job, filling it with epoxy resin to a perfectly smooth finish before re-enamelling.

A while ago, I had the loft converted. It was a bit of a shock, though, when the builders informed me on a Friday that I would have to move out of the house by Tuesday for work to begin. Desperately, we packed up the house, got the furniture into storage and moved into my mother's one-bedroom basement flat for five months. Before packing up, I threw away a third of everything we had, and when it came out of storage, I threw away another third, so that was a result.

Coco [Conran's daughter] chose the fabrics for her room from a range designed by my best friend, Emma Ashley, who designs for Elanbach. She has a sweet Nordic-style bed and a little chandelier. Felix [her son] has his room in the loft, with a nook for his PlayStation and telly, and a huge drawer under the bed which is full of Lego.

At the moment I'm working towards a festival called Truly British to be held at Harrods, which is a celebration of British quirkiness and eccentricity, presenting examples of contemporary interpretations of our traditional produce.

This flat is my ideal home and I'm perfectly content. If I could, though, I would transport it to a place with a big garden as that's the only thing lacking. One day, I'll progress to something bigger and better than a window-box or two."

'Truly British' runs from 5 September for three months at Harrods, London SW1. 020-7724 5318; www.sophieconran.com

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman, Peter Capaldi and Nick Frost star in the Doctor Who Christmas Special, Last Christmas
TV
Property search
Property search
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran